(I started the chat session asking for an unlock code for my Nokia Lumia 900 so I can use it internationally - the rest of the conversation is self-explanatory)
Thank you for choosing AT&T International Care a representative will be with you shortly. Please note: Protecting your personal information is one of our highest priorities; hence, you will be required to provide account related information to ensure whom we are working with. Data encryption is also enabled to protect your personal information during this chat session. For more information please go to http://www.wireless.att.com/privacy/ or http://www.att.com/privacy/. Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with Ruben Dominguez.
Ruben Dominguez: Hello! My name is Ruben Dominguez and I am an International Care Representative. I’m reading your inquiry and I will be right with you.
Ruben Dominguez: I have the account open now. What is the IMEI number of the nokia device that you wish to unlock?
Dmitry Kagansky: XXXXXXXXXXXXX
Ruben Dominguez: I would be happy to assist you with this request. I will need to ask you to verify some information so I can access the account.
Ruben Dominguez: Can you please verify the first, last name of the account owner and for security purposes, would you provide me with the last four digits of the social security number on the account?
Dmitry Kagansky: Dmitry kagansky YYYY
Ruben Dominguez: Thank you; please allow me a few minutes while I access your account. I will be right back.
Dmitry Kagansky: you still alive?
Ruben Dominguez: Yes, I am still here.
Dmitry Kagansky: just checking
Ruben Dominguez: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
Ruben Dominguez: I apologize but unfortunately I show that the IMEI number of the device you have given XXXXXXXXXXXXX is not eligible to be unlocked because the manufacturer has not provided AT&T with the unlock process or necessary codes. We are not aware of when the manufacture will forward this information to AT&T.
Ruben Dominguez: If you have any further questions or issues with this unlock policy you can contact our AT&T Domestic care. You may reach them at 1-866-801-3600.
Ruben Dominguez: I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
Dmitry Kagansky: It's an AT&T phone
Dmitry Kagansky: with AT&T logos
Dmitry Kagansky: and Nokia has already told me to contact you
Dmitry Kagansky: so ... who am I supposed to call? Nokia says you have the codes. You tell me you don't, when your logos are all over it.
Ruben Dominguez: I am sorry for the confusion, but even though the device is AT&T labeled it is made by Nokia and it has always been the manufacturer that defines if and how their devices are unlocked.
Dmitry Kagansky: No, AT&T defines that with their contract with Nokia
Dmitry Kagansky: Nokia locks the phones at the request of the buying carrier
Dmitry Kagansky: Nokia cannot give out the code without permission from the buying carrier
Dmitry Kagansky: they don't know whether the phone is under contract or not
Dmitry Kagansky: you do
Ruben Dominguez: I apologize for the issue, but unfortunately the results are the same we do not have the unlock codes for your device, nor do we have a method other than what Nokia provides to unlock it.
Dmitry Kagansky: so ... Nokia won't give me the code, and told me to contact you
Dmitry Kagansky: I'll try back at another time, when there is someone qualified on staff that can help
Ruben Dominguez: I am trying to help as best as I can.
Ruben Dominguez: I am sorry that we are not able to unlock your device.
Dmitry Kagansky: well, then just think about your statement
Dmitry Kagansky: you tell me i have to contact the manufacturer
Dmitry Kagansky: but the manufacturer sold your company the phone
Dmitry Kagansky: and locked it at your company's request
Ruben Dominguez: I do not recall advising you to contact the manufacturer.
Dmitry Kagansky: ok, so who do you advise I call?
Ruben Dominguez: Simply notifying you of why we were not able to find unlock codes or instructions for your device.
Dmitry Kagansky: if i can't call the manufacturer, and you can't help, who should i call?
Ruben Dominguez: I do not have another reference for you to call..
Dmitry Kagansky: if you misplaced the codes, then maybe you should offer to get them from the manufacturer and contact me with it
Dmitry Kagansky: well, that's not very good service - you (your company) locked the phone
Dmitry Kagansky: but now you say, "Oops. My bad." and that's it?
Ruben Dominguez: My only advise would be to check back with us regularly over the next few months.
Ruben Dominguez: No that is not it at all.
Dmitry Kagansky: next few months?
Ruben Dominguez: Yes.
Dmitry Kagansky: you think now, and in the next few months you'll find the codes?
Ruben Dominguez: As I said the unlock information is not available now, but Nokia will eventually update that information to their databases.
Dmitry Kagansky: you realize how silly this conversation is
Dmitry Kagansky: you bought the phones from nokia
Ruben Dominguez: I am very serious,
Dmitry Kagansky: so why not ask them to update the information
Ruben Dominguez: I am not being silly at all.
Dmitry Kagansky: instead of waiting for them to do something
Ruben Dominguez: I am sorry that you are taking this situation so lightly.
Dmitry Kagansky: wait
Dmitry Kagansky: i'm taking it lightly?
Dmitry Kagansky: hardly
Dmitry Kagansky: seems like you are
Ruben Dominguez: Believe me I reviewed all possible options before letting you know that I was not able to unlock your device.
Dmitry Kagansky: "just call back now and then in the next few months"
Ruben Dominguez: That is why it took soo long.
Dmitry Kagansky: If you're really in customer service, you would say "i will ask for your unlock code, and let you know when we will be able to get it"
Ruben Dominguez: I am merely providing with the best advise available for the issue.
Dmitry Kagansky: took so long?
Ruben Dominguez: I know that is not what you wish to hear, but it is the truth.
Dmitry Kagansky: really? that's the best advice?
Dmitry Kagansky: again, try to be a little bit more proactive here
Dmitry Kagansky: not "call back and we'll help when we're good and ready"
Dmitry Kagansky: but "yes, we'll proactively get on this, and then notify you when we get something"
Dmitry Kagansky: what's this "call back in the next few months" junk
Dmitry Kagansky: how about you open a case with nokia, since i can not, and let me know when you'll get the code?
Ruben Dominguez: That is my personal advise.
Dmitry Kagansky: so it's not at&t advice?
Dmitry Kagansky: by the way, the word is advice
Dmitry Kagansky: not advise
Dmitry Kagansky: what is at&t's advice
Ruben Dominguez: Oh thank you for the correction.
Dmitry Kagansky: i don't want your personal advice, i want at&t's advice
Dmitry Kagansky: what is that?
And then something happened to the chat session. Either Ruben disconnected it, or my connection drop, but it doesn't really matter. He wasn't going to help me tonight. I don't know. I'll give it another try tomorrow with some other CS wonk but I doubt it will amount to much. Oh, AT&T ... I can't wait until our contract ends ...
With no email response, tweet or DM on Twitter, reply to Google Plus, or even a post to this blog, it looks like someone came to their senses. I just got an email confirmation of a single reservation for the entire time block. And logging in online, I confirmed that my 3 other reservations have been wiped out, and a single one put in to replace them.
I'm genuinely surprised, and pleasantly so. This was going to be a convoluted mess, and I was going to deal with it, cursing National the entire way. So now I have to take back most (not all) of what I said. I'm very happy, and pleased with the service, but it's also somewhat sad that I had to do all this to get on someone's radar.
I remember doing consulting work for GTE back in the 90s, and they had some informal, internal motto they always threw around, "GTE - the company easiest to do business with." I didn't come up with the slogan, and still cringe at the awkward grammar, but I think it's an admirable goal. I hope that National is thinking along the same lines for the long term.
National Car Rental finally came through, and did the right thing by their customer, but it certainly wasn't easy on my end to get them to do it. So, I'll fess up to my change of heart, but it would be nice for someone on the National side to also say that there was a problem, and that it should get fixed. We'll see if that happens, or if they just exit from this discussion quietly.
If you read the last post, you know I posed a question to them, and apparently, the answer is, "Yes, we do treat our premium, loyal customers shabbily. Thank you for asking." The exactly reply was actually:
|Response Via Email (Prestigue)||06/19/2012 10:49 AM|
|Dear Dmitry Kagansky,
Thank you for your reply.
I understand your frustration. You booked 3 reservations to get around the system and use coupons and free day. Combining them would do what you were trying to get around. We are disappointed that this policy was a source of dissatisfaction for you. We appreciate your comments and will take them into consideration for future policy review. We can assure you that it is never our intention to disappoint a valued customer, and we appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts.
Again I apologize for any inconvenience.
So using coupons, which I've earned, and free days, which I've also earned, is "[getting] around the system." And now this ticket is simply logged as me "sharing my thoughts with them." I'm done venting. I have other work to tend to, but I do wonder whether anyone is awake at the wheel over at National Car Rental.
Some customers are more troublesome than others. I'll be the first to agree on that point. But they're still customers, and unless you have something truly unique and compelling that they can't get anywhere else, you don't have the luxury of making things difficult for them.
This week, I need to use some free days, and coupons, with National Car Rental. I'm Executive Elite with them, which means I rent a lot. I'm in a National car at least 2-3 days per week. Every week. And they had some good promotions, so I racked us some coupons for free days, and then also accumulated some free days. However, they have a really crappy website, which doesn't let you use more than 3 coupons per rental (and each coupon I have is only for 1 day).
The email from me below pretty much explains what I need:
|Customer By Email (Dmitry Kagansky .)||06/14/2012 06:13 PM|
|I have 3 itineraries right now:
376xxxxxx Atlanta Intl Arpt (ATLT01) Sat, Jun 23, 2012 02:00 PM
I need to combine them all into a single itinerary, so I don't have to go
So you can see, this is not some exotic, ridiculous request. I just need a car, for a week, and using all the points/coupons/rewards I've accumulated.
It took them close to 48 hours to respond, and here's what they sent:
|Response Via Email (Prestigue)||06/16/2012 02:31 PM|
|Dear Dmitry Kagansky,
Thank you for your email.
If we were to combine the reservations into one, the coupons would be voided out. It will not work that way, we can either combine them and take some of the coupons off, or leave it as it is.
I apologize for any inconvenience.
My response back to them spells it out:
|Customer By Email (Dmitry Kagansky .)||06/16/2012 04:31 PM|
|So you're telling me I have to drive back to the airport twice during the rental period? And that I really don't need to do anything there except say, "I'm taking this same car again under a new agreement?"
That's really screwed up, especially since your closer location in Atlanta closed up. We're talking about a location that is 60 miles away from where I'll be the rest of the week, and huge inconvenience. You're saying that I have to take 2-3 hours out of my day --TWICE-- to do this, just to use my coupons and days?
Do you really think that's an appropriate answer? Can you explain to me why I shouldn't switch to Hertz or Avis? I've used both in the past, and have never had this sort of problem.
Someone really needs to give me a good reason not to switch to Avis or Hertz. Avis I'm indifferent to, but I've loved Hertz for years. My company prefers National, so I don't buck the trend, but if I can't make use of my rewards, why be in a loyalty program? In fact, why be loyal? After more than 25 rentals this year alone, this is what I get back? I don't think so. I've already cut Hilton out of my life. National doesn't look to be too far behind unless there's a satisfactory answer here.
I just posted an incomplete, and rough document here:
Going forward, this link will always have the latest, published version of the doc. For more information about the overall project, have a look here:
Quest Software Public Sector has released a survey performed by Norwich University about the state of Cloud & Virtualization within the public sector area. The survey definitely surprised me in some of the results and you should check it out. We had a fantastic response rate, with close to 650 individuals, and a margin of error at less than 4%. I'll let the results speak for themselves.
You can find it here: http://www.quest.com/documents/landing.aspx?id=14279 .
I've been wrestling with this site getting online, and I believe this will be my first successful post. We'll see in a minute.